How to create the society that we deserve.

As a society, we decide what we value. Where do we want our work to generate value?  Do we value our transport infrastructure, do we value our children’s education, do we value our police force, our armed forces, caring for the elderly, the weak and the sick?  If we do, then our work has to be generating value in those areas.

Every hour we work generates more value than we receive as pay.  But who decides where the value that we create goes?  Clearly we can decide where we spend the value that we earn, but the extra value is retained by our employer, often private sector companies.

Businesses are responsible to their owners (shareholders) and have the responsibility to maximise income for the owners.  Their goal is to channel the value that we create to the owners.  Businesses do not have souls. Businesses are only interested in caring for the sick if it generates more income for the owners.  They are purely financially driven.  That is not a criticism but a fact.  It keeps things simple, and can produce very efficient and focussed activities.

In order to create the nation that the people want, we need a regulatory environment that directs value where we want it and allows the businesses to operate within that environment.   That is the role of government, through the tax and regulatory systems.

There is plenty of value generated in this country, we just need to see it allocated to the right areas.  At the moment, too much is allocated to a small number of people.  The activities that benefit us all are not valued enough by the few who decide where to ‘spend’ the value that they acquire.

As a society, we have the right to decide what we value and a right to ensure that our work creates value in areas that are important to us.  If we want to be cared for when we are old, we need people working to care for us.  If we want safe streets we need our police force.  If we want our children taught well we need teachers.

If more people work in these areas, it may mean less people working in other areas.  We may have to accept less people working in the finance industry, or the retail industry for example.  But surely a civilised society values caring for its people higher than moving money around, or selling more stuff?

So, we need a taxation system that allows the society that we deserve to be funded.  That is why it is important to regain more control of the allocation of value.  Government needs to take back control from businesses, and from the top 5% of earners.

But what about the argument that ‘they will just go somewhere else’.  The value that is currently channelled to the wealthy is being created here.  It will still be created here.  All that will happen if the owner of a company decides to emigrate is that they will be harvesting the value created in the country that they go to.  The value created in our country will stay here for the benefit of our citizens.

So on June 8th, let’s vote for the society that we deserve.  Let’s grasp our future with excitement and hope, and not shrink from the opportunity to make this nation great.

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One good thing about the Tory manifesto

The one good thing that I have discovered from the Tory manifesto is an increased empathy with the writers of the psalms.  They clearly had their own Tory party in power.  Psalm 10 reads:

Why, Lord, do you stand far off?  Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?  In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak, who are caught in the schemes he devises.   He boasts about the cravings of his heart; he blesses the greedy and reviles the LordIn his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.  His ways are always prosperous;  your laws are rejected by him;  he sneers at all his enemies. He says to himself, “Nothing will ever shake me.”  He swears, “No one will ever do me harm.” His mouth is full of lies and threats;  trouble and evil are under his tongue…..”

But God is love, and love will be victorious.  Use your vote wisely.  Vote with love for your fellow human beings – the many as well as the few.

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Draw your own conclusions

Here is some data.  It should be more powerful than rhetoric.  Draw your own conclusions…

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Full employment at any cost?

It should be very rewarding to be in employment.  There should be dignity to providing for yourself, and knowing that you are making a contribution to society.  There should be wellbeing associated with the knowledge of where the next meal is coming from.  There should be the camaraderie of working with others, the team spirit and banter can lift the soul.  There should be the shared bonds of a community gathering around a common cause.

But I fear that these benefits count for little these days.  The goal of full employment under the present government is for economic purposes only.  Zero hours contracts and removal of workers rights support the economic goal …. but the human benefit is lost.

There are historical examples of full employment driven purely by economic reasons.  Slavery provided full employment for the benefits of the slave owners and the government of the time.  Labour camps provided full employment.

When Labour talk about full employment, they are talking about the benefit to each person. “We will create a million good quality jobs across our regions and nations, and guarantee a decent job for all….”

I long to see our nation turn from the god of ‘The Economy’ to the instruction of God to ‘love one another’.  That is why Labour will be getting my vote.

Full employment

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Brexit … the great divorce

I have been married for 36 years.  Others are not that lucky, and unfortunately many marriages end in divorce.  Britain’s attachment to the EU is one such case.

Our government is launching into negotiations with the EU.  Let’s see if they are taking good advice.

Clearly it is best to negotiate Brexit in a “sensible, co-operative manner”.   It does not do anyone any good to start by making unrealistic demands and expecting to get your own way on everything.

So far all I have seen is uncompromising posturing for the UK press.

I would prefer our negotiations to be led by a government that is “Fair and Reasonable” rather than one which prides itself on pretending to be “Strong and Stable”.

That is another reason that I will be voting Labour on June 8th.

PS – here is advice on negotiating with the EU, which backs up the above http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/theresa-may-brexit-tactics-wrong-eu-former-greek-finance-minister-yanis-varoufakis-a7721151.html

 

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Proportional representation and tactical voting

It’s a pity that the country decided not to adopt PR for elections, the principle is good.  It would avoid extreme right- or left-wing governments, which would be healthy.

Under the single transferable vote system, if you vote for a party that comes last, then your vote gets transferred to your second choice and so on.  So in effect the least unpopular party wins.

The good news is that we can apply these principles ourselves anyway.

If our favourite party has little chance where we vote (perhaps came third or fourth last time) then we can simply vote for our second choice instead.  We transfer our vote to our second choice, and so we make it count.

Some have called this tactical voting, but really it’s the same thing.

Let’s give it a go!

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The truth behind the Tory propaganda

I am not a politician.  I don’t know how to manipulate people to vote for me.  But I do know injustice when I see it, and I do know lies and deceit when I see it, and I have learnt to recognise logical fallacies when I read or hear them.  The Conservative government have taught me well.  Local election results show that the population has unfortunately not learnt the same lesson.

There is massive injustice in our nation.

Look at the distribution of income (latest available figures)

What personal virtue led to the highest earners being paid ten or a hundred times more than those at the bottom?  It was all accident.  Accident of birth that gave them the attributes to succeed in business, or accident of birth that gave them the education and contacts that they needed.  But are they a hundred times more valuable people than the lower paid?  And as by accident they have more income, is it not right that they should give more money to the community? Yet the Conservative government wants them to pay less.  The Conservative government wants their wealth to increase, and wants to put control of our lives in their hands.

And look at the distribution of wealth.

What personal virtue led to the inheritance of wealth or debt? None, it was all accident of birth.  Without wealth you cannot buy your own home without having to borrow.  You cannot start a business without having borrow.  You cannot have a university education without having to borrow.  And when you borrow without wealth you have to pay high rates of interest.

And look at the direction of taxes.

VAT rate changes

 

The Conservative governments have reduced tax on the highest earners, they have reduced inheritance tax on the wealthiest, they have increased VAT – tax that is paid by everyone – poor and rich alike.

Conservative values are to tax the poor and to increase the wealth of the wealthy.  And yet they manage to manipulate the press and the people to avoid these truths and focus on jingoistic slogans and false national pride.  Oh yes, they are very good politicians – but I have learnt to see though their smokescreen.  I have looked at the data instead of the rhetoric.  I have seen the unnecessary suffering that the Conservatives have caused.  And so I will vote for the party with compassionate and just policies.  Will you join me?

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Why it is right to reverse the increase in Inheritance Tax threshold.

The Institute of Fiscal Studies says that “..wealth is distributed very unequally. One per cent of households have negative net wealth of greater than £12,000 per adult (the 1st percentile), while the 9th percentile is £0 so 9 per cent of households have no positive net wealth. Wealth at the median is £104,000 per adult. Wealth at the very top increases dramatically across a small number of percentiles – the 95th and 99th percentiles are £0.7 million and £1.4 million per adult respectively. In fact, the estimates of wealth held at the very highest percentiles could be underestimates;”

There is no problem with saving your income to increase your wealth.  But there is a problem when inherited wealth means that those who have not had the good fortune to have wealthy parents or ancestors are denied the chance to ‘better’ themselves.

This is more than an academic problem.  For example, for most people, the biggest expenditure is housing.  If you look at how much you can borrow, and at typical house prices then two-thirds of people cannot buy a home without help from someone who has wealth.  The graph above shows that perhaps a third of the population have insufficient wealth to avoid the having to enter the private rental market.  The high cost of renting means they have less chance of building themselves a better future – the rules are stacked against them.

That is why it is right to reverse the increase in Inheritance Tax threshold, we need to even out the playing field.

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It is time to cut VAT.

VAT is a tax on what we spend.  Everybody has to pay VAT at the same rate, rich and poor alike.  The following chart shows which parties have changed the basic rate of VAT since its introduction by the Conservative government on 1973.

VAT rate changes

Increasing VAT puts a bigger burden on the poor than the rich, as shown by the following analysis of the most recent VAT risk from 17.5% to 20%:

Reducing the rate of VAT will ease life for the less well off, increase sales, increase business activity and lead to higher employment.  That will increase income and corporation tax revenues and reduce the cost benefit payments as there will be less people out of work.

It is time to cut VAT, not to consider increasing it.

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Why public ownership makes sense

If I need some basic repairs carrying out on my car or my house, I know that the cheapest way to get the repairs done is to do it myself.  It is faster and easier and cheaper.

Why should it be any different for the nation?  If we want cost-effective roads, railways and other essential infrastructure, it is common sense for us to own and maintain them ourselves.  It’s faster and easier and because we are not paying someone else’s profits it is far cheaper.  Public ownership simply makes sense.

Other nations make a success of it. They are even running our rail services and taking the profits for their governments.

Keolis is 70% owned by the French government’s national rail service SNCF. It owns 35% of Govia, which runs the Govia Thameslink, Southern, Southeastern and London Midland franchises.

Arriva UK Trains, which operates a string of services including Chiltern, CrossCountry, Grand Central, Northern, Arriva Rail London and Arriva Trains Wales, is owned by Deutsche Bahn – whose sole shareholder is the Federal Republic of Germany.

Abellio is the international arm of the state-owned Dutch national rail operator Nederlandse Spoorwegen.

If you really want to upset yourself about this, watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvagsSOlAy4

Do we think so little of ourselves that we can’t do the same?  Isn’t it time to bring essential public services back into public ownership?

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